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Business Assistance/Resources - Quick Guide:
A 10-Step Plan to Setting Up Shop in Santa Ana

1. Evaluate Your Needs And Determine Your Location
The City of Santa Ana Economic Development Division
Phone: (714) 647-6987
Web site:
The Economic Development Division has information on business incentive programs, starting a business, job training and placement assistance, and export development assistance. We are located at 20 Civic Center Plaza Drive, 6th Floor, Santa Ana, California. Working in cooperation with the private real estate community, the city also assists businesses wishing to locate or expand by identifying possible locations and offering incentives. Call to find out if your prospective site is located in the Enterprise or Federal Empowerment Zone, areas that offer tax benefits.

2. Zoning
The City of Santa Ana Business Planning and Building
Phone: (714) 647-5804
Web site:

The city has established zoning ordinances for both home-based businesses and commercial addresses.

3. Fictitious Name (dba)
To File a Fictitious Business Name:

Orange County Clerk Recorder
Phone: (714) 834-2500
Web site:

If you intend to name your firm anything other than your own name, you must file a fictitious business name, also called a dba (Doing Business As).

4. Get A Business License
The City of Santa Ana Business Tax Office
Phone: (714) 647-5447
Web site: www.santa-ana.orgfinance/business/business_license.asp

Any person operating a business in the city must obtain a business license and pay an annual business license tax.

5. Get Important State Permits
The Economic Development Division and Business Tax Office can help you determine what other permits or licenses you may need. Contact the appropriate offices listed below.

For Wholesale and Retail Businesses
To Apply for a Seller’s Permit:
State Board of Equalization: (949) 440-3473

For Restaurants and Food Vendors
A Health Inspection is required.
The County of Orange Health Care Agency: (714) 443-6000

For Restaurants Serving Alcohol and Liquor Stores
A Liquor License is required.
California Department of Alcoholic Beverages Control: (714) 558-4101

For Some Types of Retail and Manufacturing
South Coast AQMD: (909) 396-2000
Web site:

Business Structure
If you are filing as a corporation, S corporation, partnership, or limited liability company, you must register.
Secretary of State: (916) 657-5448
Web site:

6. Get the Right City Permits

For questions about Zoning, Environmental Review, Land Use, and Conditional Use Permits.
Phone: (714) 647-5804

Planning & Building
For questions about Plan Check, Mechanical, and Electrical Permits.
Phone: (714) 647-5804

Business License
For questions about obtaining your business license.
Phone: (714) 647-5447

Public Works
For questions on public right-of-way, sanitation, and recycling.
Phone: (714) 647-5690

Fire Prevention Services
For questions about hazardous materials, underground storage tanks, and fire investigations.
Phone: (714) 547-5700

Permit Assistance Team
For questions about which permits to obtain.
Phone: (714) 647-6987

7. Get A Federal Employer Identification Number
Internal Revenue Service
Phone: (800) 829-4933
Web site:,,id=97860,00.html

A partnership, corporation, or a sole proprietorship with employees requires a Federal Employer I.D. Number. A sole proprietorship without employees can use the owner’s social security number.

8. Get A State Identification Number
Employment Development Department
Phone: (888) 745-3886
Web site:
The same rules generally apply for a State Tax I.D. Number as for a Federal Tax I.D. Number. Please refer to the item above.

9. Open A Checking Account For Your Business Only
Separate business and personal accounting is essential when you file your tax return.

10. Successful Businesses Have Business Plans
The Small Business Development Center offers a workshop on how to prepare a business plan.  For a schedule of low-cost workshops, call (714) 564-5200.

Web site: